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Monday, October 23


Every Monday, National Public Radio airs the latest in the ongoing series This I Believe where a member of the public reads an essay about the ideals and beliefs that guide their lives. Some of the essay readers detail poignant examples of faith and personal expression.

I'm not always by my radio to listen to the essays but every time I do, the underlying question always nags me. What do _I_ believe? Not that I will come up with some fantastical essay that will win me the prominence of being on NPR, but what are the core beliefs I stand by?

For a while, I didn't have a good answer. There are some ideals I will definitely stand by, but do they strike the core of my essence? Last week, my discovery about a former classmate's big step forward in life prompted some introspection. None of my thoughts truly define who I am or what I stand for in total, but it cleared some things up although I don't know for how long.

My mind drifted back to simple playground that I visited often when I lived in Georgia. I was too old to really play on the playground, but the wooden structure was frequently vacant and it gave me a quiet space to capture my thoughts.

My thoughts often reflected on the type of person I was and the type of person I wanted to be. It wasn't necessary what career path I would want to travel, but more what I would need to do to consider my efforts a success.

For a while, I settled on some words from Garrison Keillor from his "A Prairie Home Companion" radio program -- "We are who we are, make the best of it." One part of my mind views the words as possibly limiting, but in the tenth grade I viewed it as an opportunity.

It worked for a time. I boosted my grades to the best level in years and focused on core activities. I needed some more emotional development, but things were looking up as I focused on being myself.

Anyway, since then, things drifted slightly as the structured environs of high school gave way to college and then life. Distractions increased while I fell to the lure of the Internet and other pastimes. I haven't gone out of my way to find a new place to focus.

Today as my world spins in a dozen different directions, it would be instrumental for me to find a place for contemplation and reflection. Is this the path on what I want to be one? Perhaps I can determine the things that I truly believe in.

Maybe I've uncovered an element of what I believe in -- at least at work. Over the weekend, I looked upon humanity as a giant gem with as many facets as there are people. Just as some view humanity as a tapestry, this giant gem relies on each facet to be complete.

As a writer, I can view each side individually or collectively in my duty to describe the jewel's elements. Some sides sparkle, casting off twinkles of light and creating awe. Others are shaded and fractured with cracks. The vast majority lie somewhere in between.

As a journalist, I believe it's my duty to discover, describe and detail these facets accurately.

It might be a little hokey, but a spiraling gem of humanity shimmering in the light is an interesting image for me to behold in my mind. The joy of seeking out and discovering new dimensions is something I can definitely get behind.

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